I study how life-history, dispersal, and selection contribute to the distribution of spatial and temporal patterns of genetic variation, and how disturbance events (e.g. disease outbreaks, extreme environmental perturbation) can inform our understanding of the interacting roles they play in sculpting patterns of genetic diversity. I am particularly interested in using multi-year ecological and genetic monitoring to capture species’ short-term evolutionary responses to ecological and environmental change.

Below are the current projects on which I’m currently working.

NSF Biological Oceanography OCE-1737381
“Selection and genetic succession in the intertidal – population genomics of Pisaster ochraceus during a wasting disease outbreak and its aftermath”

PisasterAdult_CroppedThe 2013 sea star wasting disease (SSWD) pandemic in Pisaster ochraceus provided a rare opportunity to disentangle the dynamic interaction between natural selection, dispersal, and extreme conditions. With samples bracketing the mass mortality I am exploring the genetic consequences of the event, trajectory of recovery in survivors and offspring, and implications for future events.

PI: Mike Dawson (UC Merced), Co-PIs: Ian Hewson (Cornell), Pete Raimondi (UC Santa Cruz), & John Wares (U. Georgia, Athens)

2017 Update:


Leptasterias sp. was also affected by SSWD. With a stark contrast in life history to the high gene flow spawning P. ochraceus, Leptasterias broods its offspring to a crawl away phase and has low gene flow. I aim to explore the genomic differences and similarities between these two species (and others) spanning the SSWD episode.